What are long-tail keywords? Long-tail keywords are keyword phrases that don’t have a large number of monthly searches, but are lucrative entrances to your content. They’re more specific and often longer, and they’re awesome conversion drivers.
The term “long-tail” refers to a graph of competitiveness vs. conversion rate of keywords. In general, more competitive keywords have lower conversion rates, because they’re typically somewhat general and at the beginning of your marketing funnel.
If they’re less competitive, they’re probably more specific and, therefore, more likely to result in a conversion if your website is showing up in search results for them.
Long-tail keyword examples
For example, in the graph above via Backlinko, somebody landing on a site after searching for “T-shirts” is probably just browsing and hasn’t made a decision on exactly what kind of shirt he or she wants.
However, someone landing on a site after searching “Blue American apparel T-shirts” is much more likely to buy the shirt/convert.
It’s a little more complex if you’re selling services, rather than products, but you can still apply the same principle. A person searching for “content marketing,” for instance, is likely doing some beginning research and will click around on different results, whereas someone searching for “content marketing for construction companies” is getting more specific and will find less general results.
If you’re a content marketing company and you’ve got a great long-form blog post on content marketing for construction companies, you’ve got a good chance of making that connection and conversion.
More content = more long-tail keywords
Long-tail keywords are clearly a great thing to have on your side. Sure, having a top-ranking, highly competitive keyword is great, but so is having a long list of long-tail keywords with higher conversion rates.
To increase your number of long-tail keyword rankings, there’s just one thing you have to do: Publish more great content.To increase your number of long-tail keyword rankings, there's just one thing you have to do: Publish more great content. #contentmarketing #SEO #contentstrategy #longtailkeywords Click To Tweet
Examples of content that will increase long-tail keyword entrances to your site:
- Long-form or deep-dive blog posts
- Definition/explanation posts
4 ways to find long-tail keywords
It can be harder to find long-tail keywords since they have less search volume and won’t be as prominent in your research.
Here are a few ways to perform long-tail keyword research, though, that will identify some awesome opportunities for your content.
1. Use your favorite keyword research tool.
There are many out there — use whichever one you pay for, or whichever free one is your favorite. Whatever tool you use, look for the terms with less search volume that are still super relevant to your website.
Here’s some quick keyword research for a local HVAC & plumbing company where I identified a few keywords without thousands of searches but with lower competition:
2. Use Answer the Public.
Answer the Public is a tool that generates long-tail keyword ideas based on what people are searching via Google. A quick search for “content marketing” brings up a gold mine of long-tail ideas:
3. Go down a Google rabbit hole.
Start typing a core keyword into Google and let autocomplete complete some words for you. I’ll use “content marketing” again — see what happens when I added a “g” to begin another word?
After choosing “goals” in the autocomplete list, I now have a “people also ask” box with even more ideas:
Now, as you click on those questions to see the answer results, more questions will keep appearing, bringing you further down that rabbit hole of long-tail keywords:
4. Use your own customer service records.
Whatever your product or service, you inevitably get questions from both prospective customers and current ones. Start keeping a record of the questions that they ask that you might want to answer with a piece of content on your website.
This is especially great for the questions from prospective customers because they’re a window into what other prospective customers might be typing into search. Chances are, their questions are long-tail keywords that you can rank for to grab that traffic.